August 15, 2003
"... here to listen to your relationship problems ..."

I just caught a TV advert for something called Connexions Direct. I went to the website the advert was plugging and explored.

Connexions Direct can help you with information and advice on issues relating to health, housing, relationships with family and friends, your career and learning options, money, as well as letting you know about activities you can get involved in.

I dug further.

Finding someone to talk to.

Connexions Direct Advisers are here to listen to your relationship problems and can also help you to find support in your area. You can contact us via email, text, phone or webchat or pop into your local office. Look in the Connexions Service section for details of where your local office is.

My immediate reaction is that anything with a website that ends with .gov.uk has no damn business arranging relationship counselling. (I've picked out the creepiest bit for the title of this posting.)

My next reaction is that, what with the .gov.uk thing at the end of it, it will cost a lot and achieve very little.

And my next is that insofar as it is a good idea, the effect of anything ending in .gov.uk, with its potentially vast budget no matter how little return it may be getting, is liable to crowd out any voluntary initiatives offering similar stuff.

And my final reaction is that maybe White Rose, the website that deals with government snooping and suchlike, might also be interested. You can see how the email list of such an operation might be quite appealing to a snoopy sort of government. Maybe the advice will, as promised, be confidential, but the fact that it was solicited might not be quite so, so to speak. And what are we to make of this, from their Privacy Policy?

If you register to receive updates your information will be held on a secure server and the data will not be shared with any organisations outside Government.

Whereas organisations inside Government can fish at will?

It will be used only to provide you with e-mail updates on the topics you have requested or postal information if you request that service. If you respond online to a consultation exercise your data will only be used to facilitate the analysis of responses.

Hm.

Does anyone out there know anything about this operation?

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 10:23 AM
Category: Politics